The Library has a statutory mandate from Congress to apply its resources broadly to the advancement of medical and health-related sciences. It collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical information to investigators, educators, and practitioners, and carries out programs designed to strengthen existing and develop new medical library services in the U.S. It is the central resource for the existing national biomedical information system.
1865--John Shaw Billings, M.D., was assigned to supervise the Surgeon General’s Library, which he developed into a national resource of biomedical literature.
1880--The first volume of Index Catalogue was published. By 1961, when it was discontinued after 61 volumes, this publication had listed 3,674,111 citations to medical books and articles, making it preeminent among scientific bibliographies of the world.
January 1922--The Library of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army) was renamed Army Medical Library.
April 1952--The Army Medical Library was renamed the Armed Forces Medical Library.
October 1, 1956--The Armed Forces Medical Library was designated the National Library of Medicine and placed under PHS.
December 1961--The new building at 8600 Rockville Pike was dedicated.
January 1964--The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) became operational at NLM.
January 1, 1967--A Toxicology Information Program was established at NLM in response to recommendations of the President’s science advisory committee.
July 1, 1967--The PHS Audiovisual Facility, renamed the National Medical Audiovisual Center (NMAC), became a component of NLM.
1968--NLM became a component of NIH. The Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, NLM’s R&D component, was created by Congress.
October 1971--MEDLINE (MEDLARS Online) was initiated to provide online access to a major portion of the MEDLARS database.
September 1972--TOXLINE, an online bibliographic service covering pharmacology and toxicology, became operational.
May 22, 1980--NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) building was dedicated. The new building, adjacent to the Library, houses NLM’s research and development component (LHNCBC), as well as its grants, toxicology, and audiovisual programs.
February 5, 1986--Grateful Med, a PC-based user-friendly software for accessing MEDLARS, was introduced to the health community.
October 1993--NLM’s Internet WWW site appeared.
November 25, 1994--The “Visible Human Male,” a large computer dataset of images based on a cadaver, was introduced. The "Visible Human Female" appeared 1 year later.
April 16, 1996--The Internet Grateful Med allowed anyone with access to the WWW to request a code and search MEDLINE via the Internet.
June 18, 1997--All web-based access to NLM's MEDLINE is made free.
October 22, 1965--The Medical Library Assistance Act of 1965 (P.L. 89-291) was signed into law, authorizing NLM's extramural programs of grant assistance to help expand and improve the Nation’s medical library and health communications resources, technology, and manpower for service to the health community.
August 3, 1968--Public Law 90-456 authorized the designation of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications.
November 4, 1988--Public Law 100-607 authorized the establishment of a National Center for Biotechnology Information at the NLM.
June 10, 1993--Public Law 103-43 authorized the establishment of the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology at NLM.
Dr. Lindberg assumed the directorship of NLM in August 1984. Born September 21, 1933, in Brooklyn, N.Y., he received his A.B. degree (magna cum laude) from Amherst College and his M.D. degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. He received his specialty training in anatomic and clinical pathology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. He also holds honorary degrees from Amherst College, State University of New York, and the University of Missouri.
Following early research in experimental pathology, he later began a long-term investigation of the use of computers in medicine, founding in 1963 one of the Nation's first medical computer centers at the University of Missouri. His most recent research has been in applying artificial intelligence techniques to the development of expert consulting systems.
Prior to joining the Library, Dr. Lindberg was director of the Information Science Group and professor of pathology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia. He taught pathology at Missouri from 1962 until his present appointment. He also served as chairman of the department of information science at the university's School of Library and Information Science.
Dr. Lindberg has published extensively in the fields of pathology and medical information. He is the author of two books--The Computer and Medical Care (1968) and The Growth of Medical Information Systems in the United States.
From 1992 to 1995 he served in the concurrent position of director of the National Coordination Office for High Performance Computing and Communications, Executive Office of the President.